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A lawmaker's call to wipe out all cats in Australia because they prey on wildlife raised howls of protest Friday from animal rights groups and the country's pet lovers.

Richard Evans wants Australia feline-free by 2020, and called this week for unleashing a fatal virus on wild cats that roam the Outback killing birds, native marsupials and other animals.

He also called for a law requiring pet cats to be neutered so they can't breed and eventually die out. Until then, a cat registry and cat curfews should be put in place.

"I am calling for the total eradication of cats in Australia," Evans told Parliament, adding that while cats may be playful and affectionate around their owners, they are killing machines when out on the prowl in suburbia. Evans blamed cats for the extinction of at least nine native species.

The Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals agreed Friday that cats should be controlled, but called total eradication "outrageous and unnecessary."

Nancy Iredale of the Cat Protection Society called Evans' proposals laughable.

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